(Last Updated on : 31-01-2015)
Cypress oil comes from Cupressus sempervirens
, a deciduous, evergreen tree that can be identified by its dark green foliage, small flowers, and round brown-gray cones with seed nuts inside. The wood is hard and durable, red-yellow in color. It's native to Southern Europe, but has spread to North Africa and North America. It's also widely cultivated in Spain, France, and Morocco. This is also known as Mediterranean Cypress. Its bark yields the essential oil. This tree was known to the people in ancient times as the tree which lives forever. Recently, this tree has sparked research for its ability to resist forest fires.
This tree is softwood that's ideal for making vases and other novelty items. Cypress is good due to its astringent properties. The oil can be used as massage oil, patches, compress, lotion, poultices and shampoo baths and for inhalations.
Cypress trees thrive well in wetlands. The tree is a perennial tree, conical-shaped, about 28m high and originated from the East, now mostly found in gardens and cemeteries in the Mediterranean region.
Extraction of Cypress Oil
The oil is colourless to very pale yellow in colour and watery in viscosity. Cypress oil is extracted from the needles and twigs of young branches by steam distillation and yields 1.3 - 1.5 %. Sometimes, the fruits of the plant are used to make this essential oil. Cypress oil has a woody, slightly spicy and refreshing masculine smell.
Origin of Cypress Oil
During the early times, Phoenicians and Cretans used it to build houses and ships, while the Egyptians used it to make sarcophagi for burying their deceased. The Greeks also used cypress wood to carve statues of their gods.
The botanical name of this plant comes from the Greek word that means "ever living". Cypress trees are often cited in art and literature, and are believed to be an emblem of death. Legend also has it that the cross where Jesus was crucified was made from cypress. This is still a well-known symbolism in many countries, such as in Egypt, where they use the wood to create coffins. In the United States and France, cypress trees are often planted in graveyards. The Chinese also revere cypress and associate it with contemplation, as its roots take the form of a seated man when they grow. In Tibetan culture, it is used to make incense.
Today, cypress trees are not only valued for lumber, but are also used to produce cypress oil. Although the Cypress tree is often linked with death and is commonly found in and around cemeteries, the oil obtained from this tree can save people from some truly devastating conditions and illnesses. This greenish or yellowish oil has a fresh, herbaceous, and slightly evergreen and woody scent, which is said to be calming and invigorating.
Properties of Cypress Oil
The health benefits of Cypress Oil can be attributed to its properties as an astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, antispasmodic, anti-edema, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, haemostatic, hepatic, styptic, sudorific, vasoconstricting, circulant, analgesic , mucolytic ,anti-lice, antiviral, antibacterial, nootropic, emenagogue, respiratory tonic and sedative substance.
Benefits of Cypress Oil
Cypress oils health benefits are far-reaching, and it has demonstrated properties that are beneficial for your circulatory and respiratory systems. For instance, it can help reduce cellulite and varicose veins, and tighten and reduce pores.
Relieve pain - When massaged over affected body areas, cypress oil can relieve rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and muscle and joint pain. It also helps control spasms, relieves period cramps, and may even be used for injury rehabilitation.
Strengthen and tighten your tissues - Cypress oils astringent properties causes the tissues in your gums, skin, muscles, and even hair follicles to contract, which strengthens them and holds them in place. This prevents them from becoming loose or falling out.
Treat wounds - The oil has antiseptic properties that helps treat internal and external wounds. Cypress oil is even used as an ingredient in antiseptic lotions and creams.
Serve as a diuretic - This promotes good digestion and stops gas from forming in intestines. It also reduces swelling, cleans kidney, and eliminates toxins and excess water from the body.
Constrict your blood vessels - By constricting the veins, it helps stop bleeding, and may also benefit those who suffer from haemorrhoids and varicose veins. It can also be used for bleeding, perspiration, and irregularly heavy menstrual flow.
Promote proper liver function - It maintains adequate bile secretion and protects the liver against any kind of infection, which are both essential for optimal liver health.
Relaxes nervous system - It has a calming and sedative effect on the mind and body. Cypress oil is also beneficial for people who have suffered a major trauma or shock.
Uses of Cypress Oil
Today, cypress oil is used for industrial and medicinal practices. Perfume and soap industries often use cypress oil, as its fresh evergreen aroma, with a slightly sweet and balsamic undertone, adds a masculine note to men's cologne and aftershaves.
Calms and relaxes stressed mind by inhaling through vaporizer. It can also help alleviate breathing disorders, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.
Used as a massage oil to relieve arthritis, rheumatism, cramps, varicose veins, and heavy menstrual flow.
It deodorizes and cleans sweaty feet.
It can be used it for cuts, haemorrhoids, and excess bleeding. It is a wonderful essential oil for any circulation problems.
It has also been used in weight reduction formulas because of its diuretic effect.
It is a balancer to the female system, often combined with clary sage for hot flushes and used to reduce or inhibit the growth of ovarian cysts.
Because of its work with acne and oily skin it is often added to skin care formulas.
Cypress is excellent in aftershave and hair care formulas.
As much as it stimulates perspiration, it also curbs excessive sweating, and reduces heavy menstruation and heavy bleeding. It is anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic, so it can also be used in the treatment of varicose veins
, cellulite, asthma
, and diarrhoea
. Cypress essential oil is also helpful in concussions, local swelling, prostatitis, pleurisy, arthritis and strokes.
The oil is considered non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing but it is best to avoid it during pregnancy. It is also best to do a skin patch test before using it in a massage blend.
Cypress Oil forms great blends with essential oils of all citrus fruits such as Lemon
as well as with Bergamot
, Clary Sage